The Defenders of Fallcrest

For The Greater Good?

The party was discussing whether to look further into Paldemar, who had broken into Valthrun’s tower, or create a public service announcement about the joy of moat digging, while sitting on the sun deck of the pyramid. They were interrupted by the sound of prunes smashing against the side. A small mob had formed and were shouting at the party. A spokesman came forward and called for and end to city protection for the corrupt prune empire. Dreadbeard tried to calm the people down, but was unsuccessful. Gin decided to face the allocations of the mob. The spokesman claimed a witness had sen them burn the Nentir Inn down, leaving the bartender to die inside. Gin began to talk around the issue, pointing at the cult and demanding to know who the witness was. Alexandra Thwipwick, stepped forward. Gin asked if they can talk privately and she consented. He took her inside to the second floor of the pyramid where the beginnings of a prune bar were forming. There they talked over prune juice:

Alexandra: “What were you doing there?”
Gin: “We had evidence that a cult of Zehir was operating out of that inn. When we went there we found a yuan-ti had been mind controlling others into working for him.”
Alexandra: “Who started the fire?”
Gin: “How do you feel about dad?”
Alexandra: “Terrible, he tried to further your prune business with criminal activities… you’re becoming him!”
Gin: “… Come with us, help me find the right path!”
Alexandra: “Really? You want help changing?”
Gin: “For you, sis, anything.”

Alexandra told the crowd that Gin had seen the error of his ways and asked her to help him find his way back to his moral compass. The crowd slowly dispersed.

The assistant to the Seneschal approached to let Dreadbeard know that a magical message awaited him in the keep. When they got there, Orontor explained that the eldritch machine they had found in the tower of Vecna had been taken. The party decided that they needed to address this immediately.

Meanwhile, Trident had gone to the bounty hunters’ guild to describe how dangerous the cult of Zehir is. He told them to watch out for any signs of additional cells of the cult, and to be suspicious of anyone who talked negatively about either Dreadbeard or prune juice as the cult’s primary goal had been to undermine Dreadbeard and the party. He further ordered them to not act on anyone until the townsguard had arrested them, but then to take over the investigation.

The party gathered at Nimozaran’s tower, hoping to use his teleportation circle to get to the Tower of Vecna quickly. Before teleporting though, they told Nimozaran that they would need him to learn more about deep crows, capturing creatures for the moats, Cryonax, Bartimaeus, dragons and giant lances. To help him have the energy, Gin gave him two double shots of prune juice.

When the party arrived in the base floor of the tower of Vecna, they immediately noticed that the arcane energy was diminished from their prior visit. The walls were not screaming at them. As they headed up to the second floor, they found the experimentation rooms unused in months. They also found a room with an arcane summoning circle on the floor. As Aegis investigated it, it syphoned some of his arcane energy, and summoned a large, horned, winged beast. Standing twelve feet tall, brandishing a sword crackling with lightning and a whip made of fire, the beast looked at the party. Dreadbeard attempted to make a deal with the demon, asking it to be their jailor in the pyramid. Gin further offered that it would have full run of the jail, and have no oversight in the treatment of prisoners. The demon offered to shake on it, but when Gin crossed the plane of the arcane circle, the bonds holding the demon in were broken. He immediately lashed out at Gin, but not before Dreadbeard knocked him down and back. The party realized they were out matched, and began making a strategic retreat. Trident stepped through to the Feywild, then Aegis, followed by Dreadbeard and Gin fled up to the next higher level. When Trident returned, believing the party would try to head back out through the teleportation circle, fled away from the balor down to the lower level.

On the top level, Gin found a ritual book, with a ritual for teleportation that did not require a teleportation circle, only material components that were sitting next to the book. He began to cast the ritual, trying to fix the prune fields outside of his home in his mind. Aegis began using his practiced barrier, trying to seal up the room, despite lacking Trident. Dreadbeard worked to activate the columns that contained arcane energy to strengthen Aegis’ barrier. A skeletal man, similar in build to Paldemar, tried to enter the chamber through the side door, but blocked by Aegis’ barrier walked into the foyer, saw the party, and scowled before leaving down the stairs.

Trident heard the approach of the balor. Waiting for the perfect moment, he slipped past, but was pulled back by its fiery whip. Using all of his speed and cunning, he slipped away again, running past the skeletal figure as he rushed up the stairs.

Over the next few minutes, Trident could hear the sounds of fighting, but did not risk going back down far enough to see it. Dreadbeard convinced Aegis to open a hole in the barrier to allow Trident access, which he did as soon as Trident was ready.

Just before Gin finished opening the portal, an explosion rocked the entire tower. As soon as the portal finished opening, ignorant of what had happened in the lower levels, the party quickly jumped through.

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The Serpent and the Dragon

Seneschal in Winterhaven dead “He was waiting until everyone entered the pyramid before entering himself” → Ex-lord Padraig and Sjelvim approach to be the new seneschal. Due to superior leadership skills, Sjelvim is chosen and ex-lord Padraig is thrown back in prison.

Minda Conture and Regrizzt offer to be new sage. Vadriar vouches heavily for Minda! She gets chosen to join the pyramid to organize library and research Bartimaeus, Regrizzt gets chosen as new sage of Winterhaven.

Armos is pissed about the rumors! Also demands some engineers/architects and some workers to expand the Cairn of the Winterking. DB asks about Barimaeus, Armos says he’ll consider giving information after work is done on the Cairn.

Word from Valthrun (from before his death) in Winterhaven that he caught someone breaking into his tower. Missing books on necromantic rituals. Group investigates, finds the arcane symbol of Paldemar.

Cult of Zehir – rumor is going strong, the cult is interested in finding the four to bring in deeper. Introduce to Scar Vrythal and a yuan ti. The party killed the Yuan-ti and captured Scar Vrythal, and used the two (with a projection from the pyramid) to clear the rumor they had spread. (also, somebody lit the Nentir Inn on fire. Experts say the fire was started in the cellar, where purportedly illegitimate prune juice was being kept. Whether this was mob related or not is unknown)

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A Widow's Revenge

Travel to Winterhaven.

Start gathering town into pyramid

Gin and Aegis notice the arcane energy flowing north of town

The party races the dragon wagon north

the horses die as they charge into a giant formation of goblins that are casting ritual

The party attacks, the goblins return fire with magic missile

The party forces surrender on the final goblin of the group, who points out the other two casting goblin formations and Allande Markelhay

The ritual is completed and destroys part of Winterhaven, killing 13 families

Gin and Trident race to town to get the pyramid as the goblins flee north east towards the winterbole forest. Rejoined in the pyramid, they begin squashing the goblins, and when Allande is the only one left, DreadBeard tries to talk her into surrendering. When she begins lobbing magic missiles at him, he gets inside and orders her to be crushed as well.

Gin captured her soul into a bead, which Dreadbeard wove into his beard.

The party returned to Winterhaven, letting the citizens return. They discovered that Valthrun is missing, probably dead.

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The Pyramid Ascends

Each player plays random guards
Witness an ice blast
See invading goblins

Party returns to Seven Pillared Hall

Vadriar the Sage does not recognize them at all, no longer mumbling and frightened – joins the pyramid of shadows to see the planes.

Travel to Elemental Plane of Air – capture an air elemental’s essence.

Travel back, teleport to the Fiveleague House. Hear rumor about Nenlast being destroyed.

Pyramid flight ritual.

Return to Fallcrest

Report about Orcs west of Winterhaven – growing large, infighting is keeping them in check (aside about beholder)
Terrlen Darkseeker is there with news of Seven Pillared Hall – Slave trade has picked up heavily

Nimozaran has cured Anador and found the ritual to summon a spirit back from the Shadowfell. Autopsy on Jory – brain eaten, gross goop in its place. (goes inside tiny, extradimensional coat closet to find comparable brain to show party difference)

Refugee of a tribe say his tribe was destroyed

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What the Brugg

The party asks Reithann to cleanse the pyramid of shadows.
They decide to stop in the seven pillared hall and investigate Brugg. Orontor allowed them entry on condition that Whip Noob not join them and that they not harm any members of the town.
Gin started a charitable campaign to buy a replacement leg for Rendil Halfmoon
They find out that Terrlen Darkseeker went to find them in Fallcrest
The slave trade has begun again
They meet a dimwitted hobgoblin that offers to bring them to a deal to buy any left over slaves
They make a deal with Gendar to have shop space in the pyramid for a year in exchange for aged elixirs of flying and albino griffon feathers
They go with 10 hobgoblins and 75 slaves to a meeting with Brugg and 10 drow
While Brugg is deciding which slaves/sacrifices to buy, Gin started talking to one of the drow, Xanathar about how he should lead, and it would mean more prune juice for the drow if Brugg was out of the way
Xanathar told the party to wait two minutes before attacking Brugg, then talked to his fellow drow
The party prepared to attack Brugg, but sensing danger he struck at Trident first, knocking him unconcsious
Gardain took the brunt of future attacks, largely shrugging them off despite the severity of them
Dreadbeard finished him, took his prototype sword, severed Brugg’s head off, then gave the sword to Xanathar as promised

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Tracking Down Huitzilopochtli

Dall Vims is acting weird, as is Jory Shoopli
Party goes to Nimozaran to ask about Inquisitus
Guard informs of murder of Barstomun Strongbeard
Barstomun has been shredded and scattered
DB has guards gather up bits and bring to church
Party asks Nimozaran to come magically put the body together
Ask for Nirva’s help summoning the soul back from the shadowfell
She provides ritual, components and bead to trap his soul
The party successfully traps the bead into the bead, which is then woven into DB’s beard
They use a dwarven Ouiji board to discover the murderer – “Wolf”
They question Dall Vims, and Jory, then arrest them and Dall’s wife for observation by Nimozaran, after Trident gets a sense of the Far Realm on them
Ransack homes, find a letter from Jory to Dall about settling their feud outside the Wizard’s gate
The party goes and questions Anador, the guard on duty the previous night. He said it was quiet, they gave him prune juice, he turned green, they sent him to Nimozaran.
The party got disguised and went to the Nentir Inn
Gin teleported in and out of boring conversations while drinking other peoples’ drinks. He discovered that the Nentir Inn is selling unlicensed prune juice, which turned him green. Trident investigated the rooms, DB demanded a drink from other patrons (who did not comply).
A business meeting was held for the next couple hours. Towards the end, Trident and DB started chanting Zehir. The leader asked to see Gin, Trident and DB after. He asked how they found the meeting. Trident said Scar Vrythal told them about it. He gave them an initiation task. They have a week to spread the rumor that DB worships devils like Armos.
The party starts the rumor through a couple channels (Gin’s family, DB’s guards, Trident at local establishments).
The party asks around about Huitzilopochtli, finds out he was seen over the Fiveleague House. They travel there, learn he was headed south, travel into the Harkenwold and hear that the Iron Circle recently attacked, but a monster killed all the Iron Circlers and now demanded homage.
The party found Huitzilopochtli in Harken Village, trying to subjugate the people. They offered him a role in the army, but refused to bow. A fight broke out, nearly killing Dreadbeard, but the party destroyed the beholder. Baron Stockmer named the party definitively as his successors.

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Reentering the World

Dreadbeard is called to Fallcrest to listent to petitioners:
My husband has been acting weird
Refugee of Nenlast
Neighbor stole sheep

Dirk gets some rumors about location of some bounties

Gin researches rituals

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I'm Free!

fight some undead in creepy shadow room
kill 3rd karavakos the undead
3 keys, 3 key holes
so many karavakoses
BOOM
Trident’s down
“You ended Karavakos’ suffering early. You owe me for that”
“The pyramid is ours!”
“I am headed back to the Feywild. Thank you for saving me!”

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Kill Me Twice, Shame On Me...

Foulspawn and Devil faces
Three gates: Blind and Deaf, Someone’s going to be hurt, Chomping Mouth
Heart of Madness (42)
I just need a little nap
Fight Karavakos (46)

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A New Ally?

After catching their breath from fighting the lizardfolk and harpies, the party headed north into a large ante-chamber. They could see two doors, one leading east and one west, and across from where they entered they could see the stairwell going up to the second floor of the pyramid. They decided to investigate their surroundings before heading upstairs, discovering that the doorway to the west was not closed. Inside, much to Vyrellis’ disbelief, they found her body suspended between four pillars by arcane energy.

Gin and Aegis investigated the wards holding the body there. Vyrellis asked if there would be any way to reconnect her to her body. Gin and Aegis tried what they could, and a bolt of arcane power linked the head in Trident’s hands to the body in the center of the room for a moment. “I know where they are!” Vyrellis exclaimed. After a moment of speechless joy, she explained that her life had been severed into three life shards, and that these would be needed to reconnect her to her body. Now that she had reestablished a connection with it, she could sense where the three shards were located in the pyramid.

After some discussion, the party decided to search for the two shards that were located on the first floor of the pyramid before heading up to the second, where she sensed her third life shard.

The party headed to the east side of the pyramid, where they found a flooded room, with five lizardfolk waiting for a meal. After dispatching them, the party found a raised room that had not been flooded with a statue of Vyrellis with a moonstone embedded in it. “That’s the first one!” Vyrellis cheered. Dreadbeard carefully removed it from the statue, and tried balancing it on the ball containing Vyrellis’ head.

They continued north, finding a gang of bandits led by Gharash Vren. While the bandits themselves put up little resistance, the werewolf they had captured was able to draw some blood, but was also put to rest by the party. Heading through another door to the south the party found a woman praying at an altar. Upon seeing them she grew overjoyed. “Thank the gods you are here. You have to help me!” When the party had entered the small chapel, the doors slammed shut behind them. "You see, I have been trapped here for hundreds of years.

The party investigated their surroundings. Gin quickly determined that a devil’s curse was keeping the doors locked, and when anyone approached them two devils would appear momentarily and cut the person approaching, before disappearing again. In a fit of rage at being imprisoned, Dreadbeard started charging the walls, trying to bring the chapel down. Quickly, though, he broke through a hidden door into a secret chamber. The woman was shocked to see the secret room off of the chapel. Inside was another statue of Vyrellis that had a garnet lodged into it. They found it a little harder to remove it than the first, but were able to get it.

Having found the life shard, the party turned their full attention to escaping from the chapel. After trying to break other walls and destroy the doors, the party investigated their surroundings again. Initially Dreadbeard, Trident, and Gin believed they would need to make a sacrifice on the altar, and they started eying the woman, whose name was Dana. Aegis stepped in and said they would find another way out. Dana thanked him for his protection with a kiss.

Then, inspired by an altar runner, Dreadbeard slowly lowered his hands over the two candles on the altar, holding them there until they burned his hands. As soon as his hands were burned, the party fled the chapel with Dana, before the doors slammed shut again. Dana asked if she could join them and be under their protection. Everyone agreed, and they headed back to the stairs to go to the second level of the pyramid.

Upon arriving on the second level, Vyrellis said she could sense her final life shard to the east, and she could also sense Karavakos to the south. The party decided to finish what they started with her life shards and headed east. As they approached a door that was frozen, the party began considering what they should do about Dana if they got into a fight with other denizens of the pyramid, to which Gin replied, “Who, the succubus?” Concerned that they had been infiltrated, Dreadbeard and Trident tried to attack her, but Aegis stepped in the way to protect her. In response she held up her hands and tried to convince Dreadbeard that she meant no harm, and he found himself unable to keep attacking her. “I will wait downstairs while you guys work this out” Dana told them, before flying away back down the hallway.

The party decided to worry about Dana after retrieving the final life shard, and they continued through the frozen door. Inside they found a hallway with a thick sheen of ice on all surfaces. They were approached by an eladrin who asked what they were doing there. The party decided to attack her, but before they could she was joined by two eladrin knights that tried to stop the party, and then by more troops. Despite the eladrins’ familiarity and comfort with the ice and cold, the party dispatched them quickly, only finding trouble with one that put a curse on trident before fleeing into a room and locking the door behind himself. But time and some strong shoulder blows found the door destroyed and the eladrin killed.

The party continued on, finding themselves in a cavern that was colder still than the hallway. Lying at the back of the cavern was a pile of treasure with a white dragon next to it, who upon seeing them enter roared, “Kneel if you would treat with me.” Vyrellis told the party, “The amethyst on the top, that’s it.” The party decided to move into position, not enjoying the idea of kneeling before anyone and wanting to get the final life shard. The dragon responded immediately, moving into one of the nearly freezing cold pools in the cavern. Seeing how quickly the dragon responded, the party decided to try a different tactic. Aegis approached and kneeled, and said that they wanted to trade with the dragon for the amethyst in his treasure. The dragon responded, “Before we discuss any trading, what gift will you offer me for not eating you?”

Gin quickly said, “How would you like to try some of my fine prune juice?”

“Yes, I will try your finest gnomish prune wine.”

Gin produced some of his extra potent prune juice for the dragon. The dragon enjoyed the taste, but then he started rippling, and finally ripped in half. Both halves sealed up, so where there was one dragon before, now there were two, and the second was female. The female started moving towards the original dragon to which he responded, “This is a great gift indeed. I will trade the amethyst for more of that wine.” Gin quickly teleported over to the treasure pile, left a barrel of the prune juice and grabbed the amethyst, teleporting back.

The party then, with all three shards, headed back down to the room containing Vyrellis’ body. Vyrellis suggested putting a life shard near three of the pillars that were projecting the arcane energy, and the globe with her head on the fourth. The party arranged it, and then Aegis began working on a ritual to break down the wards holding the body suspended. One pillar at a time, the arcane energy ebbed. After the three with her life shards had all winked out, her body hovered towards the final pillar, and the globe with her head floated up over the body. A bright light flashed, and glass shattered. When the light faded, they found Vyrellis, whole, kneeling on the ground amidst hundreds of glass shards.

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